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COPYRIGHT DEPOSrr 



Esther Wake 

or 
The Spirit of the Regulators 

A Play in 
Four Acts 



By 
Adolph Vermont 



All rights reserved under the Copyright Act, Performance 

forbidden, and rights of representation reserved. 

Application for the right of performing 

the above piece must be 

made to the author 

at 

Smithfield, North Carolina 



RALEIGH. N. C. 

Edwards <fe Brou?hton Printinfi: Co. 

1913 



iiimmmnniniiiiiinimiifflniii 






iCLD 33618 



Introductory Note 

At the University of North Carolina, on the evening of 
July 4, 1911, the Summer School Dramatic Club, under the 
direction of Mr. Adolph Vermont, presented As You Like It. 
On this occasion the dramatic power and skill of Mr. Ver- 
mont stood revealed to a North Carolina audience. The 
writer of this note at once suggested to Mr. Vermont that 
he write a play based upon North Carolina history, to be 
presented before the Summer School of 1912; and he fur- 
ther suggested the theme: the struggle of the new order 
against the old that culminated in the American Revolu- 
tion. Esther Wake is the result. It was presented by 
the Summer School Dramatic Club on the campus of the 
University, July 4, 1912. The reception it received from a 
large and cosmopolitan audience was spontaneous and en- 
thusiastic; and this time the power and skill of the play- 
wright were revealed, for he had seized upon a dramatic 
incident in our history and brought us face to face with 
the "times that tried men's souls." He had brought back 
the spirit that animated and dominated our forefathers 
when they wrought out American freedom. 

In this play the dramatist lays no claim to literal his- 
toric accuracy. It was not his purpose simply to write a 
chapter of history, but rather to bring us face to face with 
the spirit of the Revolution. He found it necessary to 
depart here and there from strict historic truth; but in 
doing so he has only exercised the prerogative and freedom 
of the playwright. What matters it if Esther Wake never 
existed in reality? A heroine was needed. What matters 
it if the hymn, AMde With Me, was not written until long 
afterwards? It is the only song that fits where it is used 
and is superior to anything that could be written for the 
purpose. Changing a line from Mrs. Browning, 

Only facts to make a play! 

and continuing the quotation, we have a further answer: 

"Exact 
The literal unities of time and place 
When 'tis the essence of passion to ignore 
Both time and place? Absurd! Keep up the fire, 
And leave the generous flames to shape themselves." 



Introductory Note 



The early history of North Carolina is peculiarly rich in 
events and characters that lend themselves readily to dra- 
matic treatment. It is, as Mr. Vermont expresses it, "a 
veritable mine of dramatic gold-ore." There is Virginia 
Dare and the Lost Colony, Cornelius Harnett and the re- 
jection of the stamps, the Edenton Tea Party, Elizabeth 
Steel and the Mecklenburg Patriots, Flora McDonald and 
Moore's Creek, all waiting to be touched by the imagination 
of the poet and playwright and brought back to us by his 
genius. Let us express the hope that Mr. Vermont will 
give further of his time and talent to this high service. 

N. W. Walker. 

Chapel Hill, N. C. 
June 5, 1913. 



The Persons of the Play 

James Ptjgh, a gunsmith, leader of the Regulators. ^ 

Trton, Governor of North Carolina. 

Edmund Panning, friend of Tryon, enemy of the Regulation. 

Dick, old servant in the house of Tryon. 

Allen, old servant in the house of Tryon. 

Waddell, prominent North Carolinian. 

Caswell, prominent North Carolinian. 

Pearson (old man), Regulator. 

Hov^ELL, Regulator. 

Hunter (farmer), Regulator. 

William, grandson of Pearson. 

Wood, deputy sheriff of Orange County. 

Husbands, a Quaker preacher. 

Herald. 

ESTHER WAKE. 

Margaret (a commoner), friend of Esther Wake. 

Courtiers, Soldiers, Regulators. 



ESTHER WAKE 

THE FIRST ACT. The scene is laid in front 
of the palace of Governor Tryon, at Newhern. 
Through the hrilliantly lighted windowSj there 
comes an abundant light on the stage, A sim- 
ple rustic bench in the foreground completes 
the scene. 

Enter Dick and AtJjAN^ two old men in 

the service of Tryon. 

Dick : Aye, Allan, I like style and manners, I 
am proud of the Colony tonight: my lord 
Tryon has not forgotten the grand old days of 
dear Eiig] and. 

Allan (indifferently) : Even so, Dick. 

Dick: There is music in the heavens tonight. 
Up yonder the stars twinkle merrily, and down 
here the light dances gaily through the win- 
dows. 

Allan : You seem very happy, Dick. 

Dick: And you sad, where all are merry. 
Come, man, the betrothal of Miss Esther should 
drive away all care from your brow. 

Allan : I love her well, Dick. 

Dick : By the gods, you should ! She is fair as 
a lily, free as the breeze. Do you remember 
the night, when our old master called us in his 
room, and laid her in your arms? A little 
mite then, now a full groT\Ti woman, and the 
fairest lady of the land. 

Allan (becoming interested) : She has played 
many a time with these old whiskers. I love 
her as if she were mv own blood. 



8 Esther Wake 

Dick: And the night of the storm! How 
brave! You remember when we came over? 
Old sailors were pale, when the lightning 
leaped over the waters and she, brave little 
heart, stood by the mast, singing her song to 
the wind. It did my old eyes good to see her 
so dauntless. 

Allan: Yesterday, Mistress Margaret said 
that she was sweeter-faced than Saint Agnes, 
who stands behind the altar in the stained 
window. I wish that she and Margaret could 
meet. I have told her so much about good 
Margaret. 

Dick: That must not be. Margaret is a com- 
moner, a woman of the people, though I grant 
she has schooling. Nobility and commons 
can not meet. 

Allan : Margaret is more than common good, 
then she brings up her children well. 

Dick: I am her friend, Allan, do not let us 
quarrel about her. Let us speak of more joy- 
ful things: tonight Miss Esther — thank 
God!— 

Allan (interrupts him) : Do not say that. 

Dick: What ails you, friend? 

Allan : Forgive me, sir, I am prattling like an 
old man. 

Dick : You deceive yourself and me, your 
friend. There is sorrow in your soul, your 
heart is heavy, and there are tears within 
your eyes. 

Allan (suddenly): Dick, I am not happy. 

Dick: I guessed it but too well. What is it 



Esther Wake 9 

that disturbs you, especially tonight, when 
Miss Esther will publicly bestow her hand on 
the most cultured man in the Colony? 

Allan: There lies my sorrow. That bright- 
est, that most cultured man in the Colony is 
not loved by the people among whom he 
dwells. The citizens of Orange County hate 
him. 

Dick : That is a mistake, you are not well in- 
formed. 

Allan : A thousand tongues have repeated this 
news, and it has traveled to the ears of my 
lady. She asked me and I could not deny. 
The enemies of her future fiance have organ- 
ized themselves under the leadership of one 
brave and almost desperate Pugh, a youth of 
uncommon character. There is trouble brew- 
ing. 

Dick: How does Miss Esther feel? Does she 
believe this accusation against her fiance? 

Allan : She is worried, sir. She has met this 
young man Pugh, she knows his strong deter- 
mination ; still she fears no evil will come out 
of the trouble. Pugh is fair and noble 
minded — 

Dick (interrupting) : There he comes again. 

Allan: Who? 

Dick: He! He came here twice to ask an 
audience of the Governor. I refused him en- 
trance, because he disclosed neither his name 
nor the burden of his errand. Then he does 
not wear the proper clothes, he entirely disre- 
gards style. 



10 Esther Wake 

Allan : Heavens ! it is the gunsmith of Hills- 
boro. I say it again, Dick; there is trouble 
brewing. 

PuGH enters. 

Dick (draws himself up rather pompously): 
Here again, sir? Your card? 

Allan: No guests will be allowed without 
their card. 

PuGH : I have no card. I wish to see the Gov- 
ernor, I must see him tonight. 

Allan : You can not be admitted to his pres- 
ence without requesting first an audience. 
His Excellency is very busy with the festivi- 
ties of tonight. 

Dick : Furthermore, young friend, as I have 
said before, your hunting suit is out of place 
at the palace. 

PuGH : I am sorry, sir, that my hair is not 
powdered, and that my shoes are without 
buckles, but I prefer the odor of the wood- 
floAvers to the perfume of your puffs. I have 
come to see your master, once more I respect- 
fully request an audience. 

Dick (excited): In that apparel? Tonight! 
Why etiquette! Style! 

Pugh: Stjle be damned! I will go in peace- 
ably if you let me enter, forcibly if you longer 
oppose me. 

Allan : Pray, young gentleman, your interest 
will be better served by your patience. My 
old friend Dick is somewhat hastj^ May I 
inform His Excellency of the errand — 



Esther Wake 11 

Pugh: Tell him that I am the messenger of 
the people of Orange County, that in their 
name I wish to speak to him, that I must see 
him. 

Allan : Your name young man? 

Pugh : James Pugh, the gunsmith of Hillshoro. 

Allan : I will go in at once. You may either 
be seated or stroll about the lawn. (Exit.) 

Pugh (to Dick toho stands erect like a statue) : 
Do not move, friend, you might hurt yourself. 
Do not laugh, you might snap! Keep cool — 
I will walk around you. 

Dick: Upon my word, what does he mean? 
(He folloivs Pugh at some distance.) Why 
you are entirely unused to the style and man- 
ners of gentlefolk, a rank barbarian. This 
country is not civilized. If I were not so old, 
young man, I would teach you a valuable 
lesson ! 

Margaret (enters on the opposite side, calls): 
Dick ! 

Dick: Well, is that you. Mistress Margaret? 
Do you see that vandal over there? That 
man is a barbarian. What ! are you weeping? 

Margaret : I am so unhappy, Dick ! 

Dick: You, Mistress Margaret? Impossible. 

Margaret : I have spent the last shilling of my 
widow's pension. My children! my children! 
That was a cruel storm which took away their 
father from them, and buried him in the 
deep sea. Dick, you were my husband's best 
friend, you must help me. 

Dick : He certainly was kind and good. 



12 Esther Wake 

Margaret : Dick, you must help. If only I had 
a shilling for tonight. 

Dick: A shilling! upon my word, you shall 
have it. First, because you are a fine young 
widow; second, because you are a gentle 
widow; third, because you are a beautiful, 
gentle young widow. Upon my word, this is 
no flattery either (feels about for a shilling) 
only, I have no shilling here. 

Margaret: My little ones must eat, Dick. 
They have fasted since this morning. Their 
little eyes are filled Avith hunger, their little 
bodies are so weak, and they are so beautiful. 

Dick : Wait here, Margaret. Let me run. No, 
pardon me, do not wait here. Some guests 
might arrive soon and would not understand 
your presence. Your widow weeds do not 
suit the happy occasion. 

Margaret : I remain but a moment ; go, Dick. 

Dick : We have orders to admit guests who are 
invited and no others. Not to permit any one 
about. Suppose you sit on yonder bench, I 
will run fast. 

Esther Wake quietly appears through 
the palace door, stops and listens. 

Margaret: If you think it better, if I must 
go— 

Esther (advancing) : You must not. Eest 
here on this seat. Mrs. Margaret, it seems 
to me we are no strangers ; Allan has so often 
spoken about you and your children. I wish 
to be your friend. 



Esther Wake 13 

Margaret: How can I be, Miss Esther? I am 
a poor sailor's widow. You are the first lady 
in tj^e land! 

Esther : You are a woman and I am a woman. 
Birth made me gentle, your character enno- 
bled you. You belong to the knightly rank 
of gentle women, whose nobility is not by the 
favor of some prince, or the right of ancestry. 
You are knighted by the admiration of all 
who honor holy motherhood. Shall we be 
friends? 

Margaret : Still, I am a woman of the people. 

Esther: But more than a commoner to me. 
Travel forces companions on us, society visit- 
ors. We are polite to both, but soon forget 
their presence. Our own hearts choose our 
friends, and I choose mine whenever and 
wherever I please. I stand guard at the gates 
of my soul, and they alone may enter to whom 
my hand opens. Shall we be friends? 

Dick coughs and tries to shoto his dis- 
pleasure. 

Esther : You are faithful, Dick, but you do not 
understand. (She takes the hand of Margaret 
and presents her to DiCK.j Margaret is my 
friend, Dick, the friend of Esther Wake. What 
say you? 

Dick : That you are right, Miss Esther, always 
right. 

Esther : Here is a little present for you and for 
your children. Kiss them goodnight for me. 

Margaret : The Colony worships you. Miss Es- 
ther, and I love you ! (Exit.) 



14 Esther Wake 

Esther : Who is the youth who is strolling up 
and down the lawn? 

Dick : That is him ! 

Esther: Who? 

Dick : That barbarian from Hillsboro, who has 
been here since yesterday, and has caused me 
no end of trouble. 

Esther: A barbarian, Hillsboro? 

Dick: Yes, they call him Pugh, he is not even 
civilized. 

Esther (smiling): I know him well, Dick. 
Look, he is gentle and his step is graceful. 

Dick : Upon my word, he stops to speak to Mar- 
garet! He offers her his arm, and she — 
accepts. 

Esther : Those are not the ways of a barbarian, 
Dick. 

Dick: He comes from Orange County, the 
country of the Regulators. He is a Regulator, 
too, their leader, and he has no respect for old 
English customs and authority. He is^ — 
I wish he would return to his county! 

Esther: Come, Dick, he must have uninten- 
tionally offended you! Let no little incident 
mar our happiness. Go tell Allan that I wish 
to see him. (She takes letter from her hosom^ 
whilst Dick goes out; she reads and seems to 
pause in thought.) 
Allan enters. 

Esther: There you are, good Allan. Did you 
place this letter on my table? 

Allan : No, my dear Mistress. 



Esther Wake 15 

Esther: Read it, Allan. 

Allan (reads): "Beware of Hillsboro and Or- 
ange County." 

Esther: Why do you turn so pale? 

Allan: Because — because, God help us, gentle 
Mistress: the man to whom you will publicly 
bestow your hand tonight, is not loved by his 
neighbors. 

Esther: And someone else wished to tell me! 
I have keenly felt this anger of the people. 
They are my friends and warn me of some im- 
pending danger. I had thought the unfriend- 
liness of the people to Mr. Fanning a passing 
danger. What is there in his character that 
makes him so unwelcome to the people? He 
is cultured and of elegant manner. He is my 
brother's best friend. Brother tells me often 
of him, and praises him. 

Allan : Alas, the hatred increases day by day ! 
The Colonists of Orange have sent here a 
young man, a certain Pugh, a sturdy lad, with 
a message to the Governor. 

Esther: A neighbor of Mr. Fanning. I have 
known him well. I was in his very smithy, 
I stood and watched his inborn courtesy. His 
people love him. 

Allan : Aye, a noble lad. 

Esther: Young, brave, intensely patriotic. He 
loves his people with a love undying. (To 
herself): Why is not Mr. Fanning like him? 

Allan : Perhaps we have exaggerated these re- 
ports. The cloud of today is the lake of to- 
morrow. After your wedding you will settle 



16 Esther Wake 

in Hillsboro, your gentle ways will win the 
hearts of the people to you and to your hus- 
band. You will be happy. 

Esther: Would and it were so! This letter 
spells trouble, someone else has seen the 
clouds lower. 

Allan : No, gentle Mistress, you are too kind, 
too good. No storm must pass over your head. 
I am old, old, I could not bear to see you 
suffer. 

Esther: Dear old Allan, you shall go with us, 
and see your little Esther happy. (She gently 
takes his hand, he fondly kisses hers.) 

Allan: Heaven bless you, gentle one. (Es- 
ther emt.) Aye, you are more gracious than 
ever! 

Dick (hears the last words of AllanJ; Those 
are sweet things you mutter about our mis- 
tress. 

Allan : They are true, Dick. 

Dick: Did you see Miss Esther? 

Allan : I found her here. 

Dick: There comes Lord Tryon, arm in arm 
with Colonel Fanning. 

Allan: They seem in deepest earnest. ("Dick 
and Allan withdraw to the rear.) 

Tryon (entering ivith Col. Fanning; ; No, Col. 
Fanning, the people do not understand us. It 
is absurd that citizens of this Colony should 
demand all the rights of a free-born English- 
man. These Colonists are undeveloped^ en- 
tirely unable to govern themselves, certainly 
not able to make their own laws. 



Esther Wake 17 

Fanning: That makes their attitude towards 
Your Excellency so provoking. What are they 
after all but farmers, commoners, little 
tradesmen? They can never understand the 
wise principles on which you base the admin- 
istration of this Colony. 

Tryon : Aye, there lies the trouble. 

Fanning: England has always selected and 
trained her sons for the higher tasks of gov- 
ernment. Her future statesmen are the ob- 
ject of her greatest care, and in this wise se- 
lection lies her strength. Do not worry. Your 
Excellency, if a handful of farmers of Orange 
County do not appreciate your motives. 

Tryon : That is it. Colonel, their minds are un- 
tutored. I regret however, I deeply regret 
that the people of North Carolina do not un- 
derstand my aversion to turmoil, my ardent 
desire for peace. 

Fanning: They are at variance with you, but 
not on personal grounds. They are good, 
kind-hearted in some things; in others woe- 
fully ignorant, supremely stubborn. 

Tryon : Well, they must obey the law. Colonel. 
Their sedition must stop. I trust that you 
will support me in bringing this misguided 
people to reason, and to obedience to England. 
And if kind persuasion will not win them — 

Fanning: What then, my Lord? 

Tryon: They call me the Great Wolf. By 

Heaven! they will hear the Great Wolf howl 

on the hills of Occoneechee! The good old 

blood of the Tryons runs red in my veins, I 

2 



18 Esther Wake 

will crush the damned rebellion under my 
heel. But come, let us speak of brighter 
things : this evening will be memorable to you, 
my brother-in-law to be. (He sees Dick and 
Allan.) Dick, Allan, I will devote myself to 
the pleasures of the evening; admit no one on 
business. Only guests come in, who present 
their card. 
Dick: There is a Regulator here from Hills- 
boro, who insists on seeing you, a most impu- 
dent young fellow. 
Allan : I have tried to find you, my Lord, to 

ask audience for him. 
Tryon: You heard my orders. Tell him to re- 
return in the morning. (Dick and Allan how 
assent.) 
Allan : I shall so inform him. Sir. 

Enter Various Colples talking and 
laughing. They offer their cards and pass 
in. Then suddenly The Scene Changes 
and discloses the interior of the palace. 
Music is heard and the couples arrange 
themselves laughingly in the order of a min- 
uet. They dance, talk^ laugh and disperse. 
Some leave the scene, others walk up and 
down. 
Caswell (coming to the front): A delightful 
dance, indeed. The Colony may be proud of 
her men and women. Those are handsome 
couples. 
Waddell: The Governor entertains well. The 
elite of the province is here tonight, the aris- 
tocracy of our fair land. We do not yield in 
elegance to the proudest blood in England. 



Esther Wake 19 

Caswell : I do wish that the Governor and the 
people of England might appreciate better the 
fact that Carolina is the peer of England in 
civilization and in stnrdy manners. If our 
English cousins could see us from nearby, 
they would not call us so provincial. (Dick 
enters all excited.) What has happened, 
Dick? 

Dick: He came in, Colonel, he is coming — 
no he is not in yet, he is at the door, that 
barbarian of Orange County. Allan is try- 
ing to persuade him not to enter. I told 
him to come back in the morning. Why he is 
a common Regulator. His suit is an out- 
rage against the style of this pleasant cere- 
mony. 

Waddell: a Regulator? 

Dick: Yes, Pugh, their leader. You may 
know him, he looks at me with eyes like a 
wolf's. When I refused him entrance, he 
placed his fist under my chin. "Old Rusty," 
said he, "let me in, or I will shove your head 
from its hinges." I lost my courage, sir, and 
left him with Allan. He further swore that 
he would come in and that all hell would not 
stop him. 

Caswell: Mr. Pugh is a true man, Dick. Go 
talk it all over with him, Dick, be brave, be 
brave. 

Dick: I am brave, sir, until I see him. Then 
my courage evaporates, sir, evaporates, evap- 
orates. (He repeats the luords as they urge 
him out.) 

Caswell: I esteem the Governor sincerely. 



20 Esther Wake 

General, and wish that he might please the 
Colonists. It is true that some of the men 
are hard to please, but they are men and can 
be appealed to as men. 
Waddell: If England took the broader view 
and extended all the privileges of her subjects 
to North Carolina, there would be no Regula- 
tion. 
Caswell: He makes one unfortunate mistake: 
he leaves Mr. Fanning in charge of the clerk's 
office in Orange County, and Mr. Fanning is 
not acceptable to the people of Orange. I re- 
joice though, in his winning of Miss Esther's 
hand, though I doubt that love alone brought 
them together. 
Waddell: What do you mean, sir? 
Caswell: That perhaps the influence of the 
Governor was not foreign to this match. That 
politics led cupid by the hand — But I won- 
der how our old friend Dick and Mr. Pugli 
are getting on? The Regulators are becom- 
ing daily bolder, and Pugh is brave among 
the bravest. Yet it would be unwise for him 
to force himself into this palace at this unpro- 
pitious moment. 

Blast of trumpets. Herald appears. Pro- 
cession of young men and women arranged 
in ttvo rotvs. They advance to the front of 
the stage, preceded a feiv steps hy Governor 
Tryon. They hold sticks covered with rih- 
hons and roses, which form an all-tvhite 
archway under which there advance Fan- 
ning and Esther. They are all in sump- 
tuous court costumes. 



Esther Wake 21 

Herald (after blowing another blasts reads 
from broad parchment) : In the name of the 
King of Love, Chief Kuler of the Domain of 
Youth. Be it known to all here present, that 
on this, the first day of September, 1769, in 
this goodly town of Newbern, the gracious and 
most noble Esther Wake, Sister-in-law to His 
Excellency the Governor of His Majesty's 
Province of North Carolina, does solemnly 
betroth herself to and publicly bestow her 
hand on the most worthy and worshipful Ed- 
mund Fanning, Colonel in the Armies of His 
Majesty, and Clerk of the Court of Orange 
County. So be ye all witnesses, and may 
Heaven grant them long life and prosperity. 

All: Long life and prosperity! 

Waddell: In tlie name of the distinguished 
company, I extend to the young couple and 
to His Excellency, our most sincere congratu- 
lations. Long may they live and prosper! 

All (repeat Waddell's words.) 

PuGH enters suddenly^ facing the couple. 
Immediate silence. 

Fanning: James Pugh? 

PuGH : James Pugh, sir. 

Tryon : What is this intrusion, young man? 
Dick, why did you allow this man to enter? 

Dick : He just came in, sir. 

Pugh : Pardon me. Governor, I have asked au- 
dience three times, and three times have I 
been refused. Our people are oppressed with 
unjust taxes and we demand redress. Your 



22 Esther Wake 

officers have squeezed the lifeblood from our 
veins. In the name of the people I demand 
justice. 
Tryon : You insolently intrude yourself on this 
assembly. Do you knoAV, sir, where you are? 

Fanning: Let him be ejected, Lord Tr^^on. 

PuGH : Slowly, Mr. Fanning. You are the very 
man whom the people of Orange consider the 
worst oppressor of the Colony. You are the 
man who stands accused in the Court of Hills- 
boro of extortion. I, in the name of the peo- 
ple, accuse you. 

Tryon : Do you know in whose presence you 
stand, James Pugh? I represent His Majes- 
ty, the King of England. 

Pugh : I represent no one, I am the people, 
the young people of Carolina grown into the 
strength of manhood. And we demand of 
you and of the King not political oppression, 
but the supreme gift of liberty. 

Tryon : These are rebellious words. Men like 
you are a danger to the rest of the Colony. 
Dick, call the guards. (To Pugh): You are 
arrested. 

Pugh : You will lay your hands on the mes- 
senger of a freedom-loving people. 

Esther (to Tryon) : Brother, permit me to 
make one request on this memorable evening. 
You, too, will permit me, Mr. Fanning. You 
both wish the people well; why not meet and 
settle all your differences? 

Pugh : Gracious lady, the Court will soon meet 
in Orange County, the Court before which 



Esther Wake 23 

Mr. Fanning stands accused. We have asked 
that his cause be tried: our prayer has been 
vain. Delay has succeeded delay, and oppres- 
sion is growing bitter. We want the Governor 
to go to Hillsboro and be present at the trial. 
Mr. Fanning, let the Court pronounce, but 
let the Court be just. If you are innocent 
and falsely accused, then let your innocence 
be knoAvn. Governor, come and be with your 
people. 
Esther: Is this your only request? 

Fanning : He asks you to surrender under 
veiled threats, to the Regulation. If you ac- 
cept the invitation, there will be no further 
trouble, and if you do not — 

Pugh: We will meet you openly, as friend. 
Will you meet us as our friend? 

Esther: Gracious brother, in the name of our 
sweet betrothal, go. Mr. Fanning, if wrongs 
have been committed, there has been no malice 
on the part of the authorities. All wrongs 
may be redressed. Let there be rejoicing, 
peace and harmony in the Colony. Mr. Fan- 
ning, ask His Excellency with me. 

Fanning : Miss Wake, the Regulators are inso- 
lent and overbearing. In the kindness of 
your heart, you ask that we surrender to these 
men. I am no coward. I will meet you, Mr. 
Pugh, at Hillsboro. May I invite my bride- 
to-be to go and witness the justice of a court, 
which shall proclaim my innoncence? I wooed 
you with shield unstained, I'll marry you with 
arms unsullied. 



24 Esther Wake 

Tryon: Miss Esther, I will decide later. The 
principle involved in this request — I will think 
this over. 

Esther: Brother, in the name of Carolina and 
dear England, promise that you will go and 
meet these people. Let there be peace. 

Tryon : Sister, I never have refused you a fa 
vor. Today above all days, I must yield. Mr 
Pugh, tell the people of Hillsboro and of Or 
ange County, that I shall hasten the trial 
At the request of Miss Wake, you are free to 
return to your county, for peace, if you wish 
for war, if you do not cease your rebellious 
efforts. 

Pugh: I thank you, gracious lady. We shall 
meet at Hillsboro; the men will honor you. 
Miss Wake. As to you, gentlemen, there are 
no cowards in Orange County. 
Curtain. 



Esther Wake 25 



ACT II, Scene 1. A loioly cabin, the home of 
Margaret. The furniture shotos some refine- 
ment, the decorations on the wall suggest sail- 
or's life. Esther and Margaret are discovered 
in the foreground. In the rear of the room, 
one of her little children sleeps on a couch. 

Esther: I too, will go to Hillsboro, Margaret, 
but you must go with me. 

Margaret: What help can I be? 

Esther: Listen. I told you of dear Allan's 
death — Before he sank to rest he took 
my hand in his : '^You need a friend," he said, 
^'and only Avoman is woman unto woman. I 
am glad that you met Margaret, her words are 
soft and healing to a troubled soul. Her heart 
is gentle and her soul is true. She will be 
your friend." 

Margaret: But you have not suffered? 

Esther : My soul is in a whirl, there is a storm 
within me. 

Margaret (places her hand affectionately on 
the hand of Esther) : I love you, Miss Es- 
ther. 

Esther: Then let your love speak. Do the 
Colonists esteem me as much as they say 
they do? 

Margaret: They do. 

Esther (suddenly) : Why do they not love Mr. 
Fanning? Why does he not love those men 
and women of a youthful nation, who have 
grappled with the forest and torn from its 
flanks their simple homes? 



26 Esther Wake 

Margaret (avoiding ansicer): When I met Mr. 
Pugh and he escorted me so courteously home, 
that night, he told me how in Orange County, 
the Colonists have woven love and reverence 
about your name. Of all the men and women, 
who came over from England, none is as dear 
to them as Esther Wake. You will be wel- 
come on the Eno. 

Esther: Brother thinks that sentiment befogs 
my reason. ^'Thej^ will say,'' he said, ^'she 
came for fear. That Mr. Fanning might be 
safe." 

Margaret: Your brother is mistaken. "She 
came for love of all," the Colonists will say, 
you will be Avelcome. 

Esther (silent a moment , then suddenly rising 
in the deepest emotion) : I dare not go. 

Margaret: You, brave Esther Wake? 

Esther (clasping Margaret^ s hand) : Marga- 
ret, do you see this diamond sparkle in this 
ring? It is the lover's eye that looks within 
your soul, a witness to your truth and stead- 
fastness. It beams with joy when the bride- 
to-be is true, it flashes bitter bolts when the 
bride-to-be grows cold. Margaret, this dia- 
mond reflects the shadows of the night. 

Margaret: But you are true to Mr. Fanning? 

Esther: Sometimes I think I love. Sometimes 
I think that I am influenced by the subtle 
charm of culture and of manner, which make 
me esteem him, yet — do I love? My broth- 
er's words of praise, for he is my broth- 
er's favorite counselor — the adulation of 



Esther Wake 27 

which Mr. Fanning is the object at the Pal- 
ace — all bewilder me. I seem to love him, when 
I am with him; and when alone, I doubt. 
Even at the supreme moment of our betrothal, 
involuntarily I shuddered — I doubted for an 
instant. Heaven ! at that very moment, there 
suddenly appeared before me a man, such as 
I had dreamed of in my dreams. 

Margaret: Miss Esther! 

Esther : He stood before me, before my fiance, 
before the Governor, before the Court, his 
brow held high, his eye unflinching. A com- 
moner, Avhose dress betrayed the wood, whose 
words marked him a prince reared in the 
halls of freedom. He spoke of love for his 
people, love for his Carolina, and demanded 
justice from England and its representatives. 

Margaret: He is brave. 

Esther: Brave and beautiful in his supreme 
devotion to his country. I looked at him, his 
ej^es met mine. I tried, I tried, but I can not 
forget. 

Margaret: No heart is purer than the heart 
of Esther Waive. Your heart must be your 
guide. Esther Wake, even at this hour of 
storm, England and Carolina call on you to 
do your duty for their sake. Your courtesy 
has won the love of the Colonists. They are 
on the very brink of rebellion, of revolt. Their 
hand is on the hilt of the sword. You must 
go and keep the sword in the scabbard. You 
will witness the trial, and in the troubled 
waves of a thousand passions, you will pour 
the calming oil of love. Go, I go with you. 



28 Esther Wake 

Esther: And your children? 

Margaret : Aunt Cliloe will take care of them. 
They will be safe— But hush, little Effie 
wakes — 

Effie (slowly rises, and comes to Miss Esther, 
idIio takes her on her knee) : I know who you 
are. Mama told us all about you. She said 
you are Miss Esther and that you are good 
and kind. Mama said she loved you — 

Esther: And do you love me, too? 

Effie : Mama loves you, brother loves you, and 
I love you, too — Won't you sing me back to 
sleep? 

Esther (kisses her) : I will, you are very sweet. 

Dick (enters, a wrap on his arm and an old- 
fashioned lantern with a candle in his hand) : 
Miss Esther. (He coughs to call attention; he 
frowns.) Margaret's child on the knees of Es- 
ther Wake! 

Esther: Dick, your light blinds the child. 
Stand over there, and I will sing. (She sings 
softly the first stanza of ^"^ Abide With Me/^ 
The child goes back to sleep, Margaret kneels 
at the feet of Esther, bending her head in 
prayer. Dick stands and listens respectfully.) 

The Scene Changes. 

The Scene represents Maddox Mill on the Eno 
River, near a ford. A campfire burns brightly. 
Several men are gathered around it. Others 
take care of horses near by, some just ride into 
camp on their ivay to Newbern. 

All: A song, a song! 



Esther Wake 29 

Howell : Let us have a cup of coffee first, boys, 
and pour it careful. Don't spill a drop. With 
these here taxes on it, it'll soon be worth a 
pound a whiff. 

Hunter: And they have taxed the sugar, too. 
Well, we always will have water if we get too 
thirsty, though I say that water is a poor drink 
for a gentleman. 

Howell: They have just put on a new tax. It 
is powder this time, and the tax is way up. 

Hunter: Ain't we got rabbit traps? When 
them Englismen think they will keep the game 
to thesselves, they is sure mistaken. 

Howell : That is a tax I won't pay. I will just 
keep a little powder around, taxes or no taxes. 

Hunter: You have a mighty fine gun, Howell, 
and mine is not a bad one, either. I suppose, 
you would not mind using a little of that high 
tax powder on Fanning, would you Ked? 

Howell : I do not know as I would object let- 
ting a little daylight in the gentleman. 

Hunter: Might feed a little lead to the Great 
Wolf, too. Those fellows have been loading 
their stomachs pretty heavy on us poor folks. 
We might let them throw up some of the tax- 
money. 

Howell : Men, we have just to stop that whole 
business. Fanning thinks that he can keep 
shearing the wool from our backs, but we will 
show him that the men of Orange are not lit- 
tle bleating lambs. Why, that man comes 
here from the great University of Yale, he 
says, to civilize us, he says; this civilizing 
business comes mighty high ! 



30 Esther Wake 

Hunter: The more civilization I get, the less 
money I have in my pocket. 

Howell: If the officers continue to grant us 
the blessings of civilization and high taxa- 
tion, the whole damn county will be busted. 
Well, I am glad that Pugh sued him in the 
Court at Hillsboro. I don't know as the Court 
will do anything with him, they are all in with 
him. 

Hunter: Well, I say, that there is one man, 
who will stand for what is right. That is 
young Chief-Justice Henderson. 

Howell: I wished they were all like him, but 

they ain't. Hallo, there is old man Pearson. 

Give us a song, Pearson, your new song. 
All: A song! a song! (They gather around 

him.) 
Hunter: We just can't get along without you, 

Pearson, tune up your fiddle. 
Pearson : I have just tried something you will 

all like. 
All : Let us hear it, let us hear it ! 

Pearson (tunes up) : Wait and I will line out 
this song, it is a brand new one. (He sings first , 
the others sing after him. The tune may he 
taken from ^^Auld Lang Syne.^^) 

Song : 

When Fanning first to Orange came, 

He looked both pale and wan, 

An old patched coat was on his back. 

An old blind mare he rode on. 

Both mare and man wan't worth five pounds 

As I've been often told, 

But by his civil robberies he's laced his coat with gold. 



Esther Wake 31 

Howell : Good song, boys, and it tells the truth. 
By the Avay, did you hear that he is going to 
marry Miss Esther Wake, the sister of the 
Governor? 

Hunter : Well, I'll be damned ! 

Howell: She is going to marry him just the 
same, though I think she does not love him. 

Hunter : She just can't, that is all ! 

Howell : Pugh told me that she is promised to 
him, he was there when she did. She is too 
fine a woman for a man like him. 

Hunter: She is the finest Avoman in Carolina! 
I would like to see a better one! That is the 
Governor and all the other folks over there 
that is influencing her. She just can't love a 
man like Fanning. He is just too proud and 
haughty. 

Howell: They ain't married yet. 

Pearson : And I trust they won't be — 

Hunter: Who is that? 

Howell: Bless my eyes, my innocent eyes, if 
that is not Mr. Wood, Mr. Fanning's right- 
hand man. Come in, come right in, Mr. Wood, 
we would give you a cup of coffee, only our 
hospitality can't stand the expense. 

Wood: Thank you, gentlemen, have you seen 
anything of old man Pearson? 

Pearson : Here I am, sir, can I do anything for 
you? 

Wood : I have been at your house several times, 
but missed you. I have a little bill against 
you, old friend, a little something for taxes. 



32 Esther Wake 

You were miglity slow in paying, and I am in- 
structed to seize your horse. 

Pearson : You do not mean to say tliat you are 
going to talie my horse? 

Wood: Pearson, I cannot help myself. I am 
acting in the name of the Government, and you 
know taxes has to be paid. 

Pearson : My wife has been sick, and I have 
had a lot of expense. The horse is my only 
chance of making a crop, if you take it— 

Howell: Give the poor devil a chance, Wood, 
and the devil will give you one some day, you 
will need it bad enough. (So7ne say "That's 
right, that's right!") 

Wood : One of you men lend him the money. It 
is only twenty shillings. 

Howell: Only twenty shillings! and at this 
time of the year! You can find that money 
only in the pockets of the officers. 

Wood: Quit your jesting. I am here on the 
King's business, in the name of His Majesty, 
do you surrender the money or the animal? 

Pearson : Wood, I pity you and the men who 
sent you. These old hands have never held a job 
like yours, they never helped to crush a man. 
They have always lifted up, never borne down. 
Well, you have the law on your side, and 
maybe you are right. England needs our 
taxes ; our wives and children may go hungry, 
but England shall have its taxes. William, 
bring old Grey. 

William : You are not going to give him up. 
Grandpa? 



Esther Wake 33 

Pearson : Hush, my boy, bring him here. 

William: Please don't. He is my horse and 
grandma's, too. 

Wood : Stand back little fellow. Your grandpa 
and you are too proud to pay your taxes. How 
will you run the government, eh? Pearson, 
pay that pound and keep the old horse. 

Pearson (leads in horse hij the bridle. Where 
this can not he done conveniently , only the 
bridle lines should be shown) : Here he is, sir. 

Wood : Perhaps some of you would like to bid 
on him. I will sell him right here, that will 
save me the trouble of taking him home. 
What am I bid for this animal? 

William : Please, sir, don't sell him. 

Wood (paying no attention to William j .• Come 
on, a little good will. Who wants him? One 
pound, ten shillings. Five shillings, who of- 
fers one shilling? 

All silent. 

Wood : Who starts him at one shilling? (Thun- 
der in the distance.) If you do not bid, gen- 
tlemen, I shall have to take him home with 
me — for the last time, no one bids? Give me 
the horse, here we go. 

William (stepping before him): No, sir, you 
shall not have him, he is my horse. 

Wood: Get away, little fellow, or I will hurt 
you. 

Howell (intervening) : That you won't. Lay 
your finger on that boy, and there will be 
trouble. 



34 Esther Wake 

Pearson : Be calm, men, he represents the law. 

Howell: I don't care a damn, whom he repre- 
sents. If he touches that boy, I'll burst his 
head! 

Wood (draws pistol): Careful, Howell, care- 
ful! 

Pearson : Gentlemen, we must obey, although 
it is hard to do sometimes. We are a law- 
abiding people. (Ee takes William to Mm.) 
Here you, my boy. Take the horse, Wood. Re- 
member the day of freedom is at hand, Eng- 
land will soon stop to treat her Colonists like 
slaves. The clouds are thickening over Caro- 
lina and soon the storm will break. (Thun- 
der^ lightning.) Take the horse. 

William (shakes himself loose from his grand- 
father) : He shall not have him ! 

Howell (advances again): I swear, he shall 
not have him. (Wood aims at him.) 

PuGH (entering rapidly) : Put up your weapon, 
W^ood. Here is your pound. I have ridden all 
the way from Hillsboro to find you, and pay 
Pearson's tax. 

Wood: You came in time to save trouble, sir. 
Howell, I will report you for contempt of the 
the law. 

Howell: Contempt, contempt! You are not 
wortliy of my contempt. Coward, if you are a 
man, put up your pistol, and let us liave it out, 
man to man. 

PuGH : You are too hot-headed, Howell. Mr. 
Wood, you have your money; do not quarrel 
further. I think it wiser for you to go. 



Esther Wake 35 

(^WooD exit sloiclij.) Confound you, men, you 
are too hasty: for the sake of a horse, you 
would have good men killed. We need evei^ 
one of you. I am just from Hillsboro. The 
news has reached us, that the Governor has 
changed his mind, that he will not attend the 
Court. 

Pearson : He gave his word that he would 
meet us. 

Hunter: It is just like I said it would have 
been. The courts is rotten. 

PuGH : There remains one more chance. The 
Chief-Justice, Mr. Henderson, can not be 
bought. He may see to it that the others do 
their duty. You must go back; you must not 
go to Newbern. Boys, the Regulation needs 
you. Keep your rifles ready, and your powder 
dry. England has long enough oppressed us. 
She will soon hear the eagle scream over the 
hills of the Eno. 

(Violent thunder clap.) 

Husbands (whose voice is heard after the noise 
of the thunder, hehind the scene, from the 
ford) : Asses ! Asses ! You are even as asses 
laden under a burden. 

PuGH : Parson Husbands, what brings you 
here? 

Husbands : I seek men and I only find asses. 
Men of Carolina, what a falling-off there is 
here! Men endowed with reason and under- 
standing have basely degenerated into asses. 
They have lowly crouched themselves under 
the burden of oppression. Men, you have sold 
your birthright: when the time of election 



36 Esther Wake 

came, wealthy flatterers lay in wait for you to 
buy your votes. With money in their right 
and drink in their left, they bought your souls. 
For a few days of riot and of gluttony, you 
have given your liberty. North Carolinians, 
you have published to the world that you are 
asses. 
PuGH : Your words are bitter, sir. 

Husbands: Not half as bitter as your deeds. 
Pugh, where is the Great Wolf, who promised 
to visit us and redress our griefs? Two weeks 
have elapsed since he promised to see the offi- 
cers who robbed us brought to justice. He has 
not come, and only the fawning Panning and 
a couple of ladies are on their way to Orange. 

Howell: How do you know? 

Husbands : There, beyond the ford, they are en- 
camped. Fanning, Miss Esther Wake, and a 
woman Margaret, together with an old and 
quarrelsome servant. The Great Wolf is not 
there. 

(Thunder and lightning increase. Rain 
'begins to fall.) 

Husbands : They asked me if the ford was safe. 
I pointed to the angry heavens, and told them 
to remember Pharaoh and his army. I would 
not wonder if the arm of Providence should 
not strike them because of the iniquity of their 
race. 

Pugh: Parson, there are women among those 
travelers. Curse the men, but not a word 
against the women. 

Husbands : Young man, you have seen the face 
of Esther Wake. Like all the others you think 



Esther Wake 37 

her great and wonderful. Young man, yon 
Esther may be a Delilah. 

Pugh: Parson Husbands, this is neither the 
time nor the place for idle words. We all 
know that the Governor refuses to meet us, 
that we are facing a long and bitter struggle 
with England. Every day we are drifting 
further and further apart. Carolinians, let us 
be united in this struggle for freedom. Caro- 
lina calls us. Sir, I pray you as a minister of 
God to pray with us to that God in this free 
forest, where his lightnings leap unchained, 
where his winds sing of everlasting freedom, 
pray that the God of freedom may be with us. 

Pearson : Brother Pugh is right, lead us in 
prayer. 

Husbands: God of the Heavens, whose frown 
is night, whose smile is day ; God, who smitest 
the proud and tenderly liftest up the Aveak, we 
call on Thee tonight. Thy thunder rolls from 
chasm to chasm, thy lightning leaps from 
abyss unto abyss, and chasm and abyss are in 
the hollow of thine hand. Thou art the Mas- 
ter: before Thee we stand with heads bowed 
and souls bared. We pray thee for our coun- 
try. These men are about to battle for their 
altars and for Thee. Make them strong in 
their fight. Protect the woman by her fireside, 
the babe that smiles in her arms. Thou, who 
rulest the earth, destroy injustice and oppres- 
sion, uphold the arm of thy people. God go 
with us, and be with us. Amen ! 

All : Amen. 



38 Esther Wake 

PuGH : One word before we go, Brother Regu- 
lators. You have sworn the oath of the Regu- 
lation, do you swear once more, that you will 
resist oppression even until death? 

All: Even until death. 

Pugh: Then meet me at Hillsboro, brethren, 
when the Court meets. Let each man bring 
his rifle. If we cannot obtain justice in the 
court, if Fanning goes free, if he is permit- 
ted to suck further the last drop from our 
veins, then down with England and let your 
rifles talk. 

(Cri/ in the distance.) 

Margaret (rushing up): Help! help! a woman 
in the ford ! Save them, the water is carrying 
them away. Miss Wake, Dick and Mr. Fan- 
ning. They tried to cross, but suddenly the 
creek rose and swept them off. Save them, 
save them ! 

Howell: Save Fanning? Never! Let him 
drown. 

Margaret: But the w^oman! 

Pugh: We fight neither men nor women who 
are dying. Come, men, come! 

(He rushes off, they folloio him.) 

Margaret (tries to folloiv, hut staggers against 
a tree): Heaven help them! What a scene, 
a fearful scene! O, the waters! the waters — 
Yonder they reach the ford. Flash lightning 
from every nook and corner and crevice of 
heaven. Multiply your radiant shafts and 
throw the light of day upon those waters! 
Beacon lights of the sky, rush from the bosom 



Esther Wake 39 

of the clouds into the bosom of those waters. 
Spend your brightness on bank and tree and 
root and rock, that they may find her whom 
my heart adores. Hush, thunders, that they 
may hear her voice, waves cease your roaring. 
They reach the bank. Pugh, brave Pugh, 
wades in. (Lightning.) The waves roll against 
his breast. He falters — no he goes forward. 
They reach him a torch ! On ! On ! my hero ! 
Look, he stretches forth his arm. He catches 
something dark. (Lightning.) He staggers 
with his burden — The men surround him. They 
help him. It is Esther, Esther ! Thank Heav- 
ens she is safe ! (She staggers a step further.) 
Look, yonder man saves Dick, and Mr. Fan- 
ning — Saved, all saved! 

Pugh (assisted hy two companions^ brings in 
Esther wrapped in a blanket): Stir up the 
fire, men. 

Husbands (coming near) : The daughter of the 
Philistine in the hands of the enemy. 

Pugh : A w^oman in the hands of gentlemen, sir ! 
( Margaret kneels by Esther, and strokes 
her facCy as the latter is still faint.) 

Pugh: Attend to your fair companion. Mis- 
tress Margaret, she is coming to. 
(The fire flickers up.) 

Esther (awakening): Where am I? — O! the 
water ! 

Margaret: Safe, Miss Esther, we are all safe! 

Esther: And Dick and Mr. Fanning? 

Margaret : Safe, safe. These men snatched us 
from death. 



40 Esther Wake 

Esther: Gentlemen, we owe our lives to you. 

William (quickly advances and gives Esther a 
red rose): Take this rose, Miss Esther, I 
plucked it in the light of the lightning for you, 
because you are good. 

Esther: Thank you, little friend. Gentlemen, 
your kindness overwhelms me. How shall I 
ever repay you? 

Pearson : Your love for our people is our pay, 
our ample pay. Come, men, whilst they wait 
on Miss Wake, let us help the others. 
(All run off; PuGH remains.) 

PuGH : They are happy. Miss Wake, because 
they saved you. 

(Fire hums 'brightly.) 

Margaret: Not "they'' did save you — ^^he 
snatched you from the waves. 

Esther: Mr. Pugh — you saved me. (8he is 
startled, then suddenly, ivithout a word, gives 
him the rose.) 

Pugh: This rose shall be more to me than 
any other gift from your hand. A child of 
Carolina plucked it for you, England's daugh- 
ter; you give it to a son of Carolina. Miss 
Wake, we have long honored you in Orange 
County; tonight the storm has brought us 
nearer. All these freemen are your friends. 
(He reverently kisses the rose.) Yonder they 
are helping your escort because of you — With 
them I pledge you my devotion. (He quietly 
walks toward the ford. Esther follows him 
with her eyes, Margaret places her arm about 
ESTHER.) Curtain. 



Esther Wake 41 



ACT III, Scene 1. Hillshoro. A room elegantly 
furnished. 

Esther : He Avill come ! 

Margaret: And he will help us. 

Esther: How powerful this man is among 
men ! The Kegulators love him more and 
more, what makes him so beloved? 

Margaret : His own love for Carolina. On her 
altars he would gladly lay down his life, that 
his brethren might have peace and prosperity. 
You did right to send for him, for he alone is 
master of these masses. 

Esther: I must beg him that Mr. Fanning be 
spared. Guiltless or guilty, the frenzied Reg- 
ulators may not let him go unharmed. If they 
should lay hands on him, the representative of 
his Majesty, will not all England resent the 
insult? Mr. Fanning's courage challenges my 
admiration; still I wish that his imprudence 
had not brought about this trial. 

Margaret : All is not lost. It is true that yon- 
der (she goes to the windoio) the crowds are 
gathering in ominous nearness of the court- 
house. I see them carry sticks and other 
weapons. In this very storm of passion, there 
will be one voice to bid the winds be still. 

Esther (seizing Margaret hy both hands) : Mar- 
garet, why do I feel so strangely? At his ap- 
proach my body trembles and I feel almost 
faint. Do stay with me. 

Margaret: Esther Wake, once upon a time a 
Jewish girl saved her people from destruction, 



42 Esther Wake 

and her name was Esther. Do you love your 
Carolina? Your heart is pure and the God of 
Esther of old is still your God. I believe in 
you and your unselfish devotion to the people. 
You must meet Mr. Pugh and plead for peace. 
You must stay the sword that dangles over 
the head of Carolina. 
Esther: Good Margaret, be with me, and let 
me be brave for the sake of my England and 
my Carolina. Hush, I hear a step ! 

Margaret: It is he. Let me open. (She opens 
the door; Pugh enters and makes a slight rev- 
erential greeting.) 

Esther: Mr. Pugh. 

Pugh (holding between his fingers a little note) : 

Miss Wake, you sent for me? 
Esther: I regret that you should have been 

disturbed by my invitation to this interview. 

Pugh: Your wishes. Miss Esther, are pleasant 
orders to the men of Orange. 

Esther: How does the trial proceed. Is all 
the testimony in against Mr. Fanning? 

Pugh : It is, I w^as the last witness against him. 

Esther: You were his main accuser? 

Pugh : In the name of my people, I taxed him 
with illegal robbery and with oppression. 

Esther (going to the windoiv) : Why are those 
crowds gathered about the court-house? Why 
their weapons? 

Pugh : They believe the Court unfair. 

Esther: And will take the law into their own 
hands ? 



Esther Wake 43 

PUGH : They believe that they will not receive 
justice. 

Esther: What if Mr. Fanning is found guilty? 

PuGH : They may be satisfied. 

Esther: If innocent? 

PuGH : Heaven then have mercy on his soul ! 
His head in the lion's jaws. 

Esther : The Court is just ; why will the people 
not receive its decision? 

PuGH : The people believe all corrupt. There 
is but one man whom they respect, Chief Jus- 
tice Henderson, but what can he do against 
the many friends of Mr. Fanning on the bench 
and at the bar? 

Esther: Mr. Pugh, there must be no trouble. 
No harm must come to Mr. Fanning. 

Pugh: Why did he oppress the people? He is 
in the midst of those whom he crushed under 
his infamous taxes; how can he save himself? 

Esther : Mr. Pugh, you are brave and fair : 
grant Mr. Fanning brave. He came Avithout 
a tremor in the midst of the men who hated 
him. Today he faces you, one against a hun- 
dred. 

Pugh : The sheriff is his friend, so are the law- 
yers and the Court, let them protect him. 

Esther: Who can chain again the loosened 
passions of an infuriated people? Who can 
control a mob ? When the hue and the cry are 
raised against a man, men cease to be human. 
The primeval brute that sleeps within them 
rises from its slumber, bursts the light bonds 
of superficial civilization and takes possession 



44 Esther Wake 

of each furious breast. Men are no longer 
men, but plain, destroying, rabid brutes that 
know no joy, but the agony of a victim; no 
limit to their cruelty but the utter destruction 
of the object of their insensate wrath ; yet that 
mob must be calm. 

PuGH : Miss Wake, you yourself asked the ques- 
tion: who will calm them? 

Esther: One man can hold yonder men in 
bonds, because those men believe him brave, 
noble, true. That man must shield the repre- 
sentative of the King and of the law, even 
were he a thousand times unworthy. The 
peace of Carolina, the weal of its citizens de- 
mand that he shall speak. 

Pugh: Who is that man? 

Esther: You — must have him. 

Pugh: I, his bitterest enemy? 

Esther : In your soul you would not harm him. 
True, your lips accused him, but will you lift 
a hand to strike him? 

Pugh : Miss Wake, this hand shall never harm 
Mr. Fanning. But he represents England and 
all the odious laws that have oppressed us. 
Why do not your people understand that we 
are freemen? We are perhaps unlettered, as 
they say across the sea. One thing, however, 
we know ; that is the Saxon's love of freedom. 
Let Mr. Fanning and his lawyers cease to ex- 
asperate the people and peace will reign su- 
preme. 

Esther: There is confusion now between Eng- 
land and Carolina, a better day will dawn, 



Esther Wake 45 

when the old mother country will embrace her 
youthful daughter. Then will old Avrongs be 
forgotten and there will be peace. Once more, 
I beg you, let the wounds that bleed in our 
common hearts not be further irritated. Pro- 
tect him, save him. 

PuGH : He is my enemy, he hates me : yet will 
I try to save him because of my love for Caro- 
lina, and my esteem for you. (He draios hack 
a few steps, then returns as if in deep thought.) 
Miss Wake, do you remember the night at 
Newbern, when I saw you in the splendor of 
your court? 

Esther silent. 

PuGH : Do you remember the night about the 
campfire, when we gladly braved the waves 
that you might live? Those nights Avere the 
dawn of a new day in my soul. Your goodness 
and your kindness have shone brightly about 
me; I have lived happily in that light, and to- 
day it shall be my guide when I shall walk 
with a smile in the very valley of death — 

Esther: Of death? 

PuGH : Of death ! See yonder the mob is gath- 
ering faster, men are standing in ever-growing 
groups. Those heads are bent in earnest con- 
versation. Those fists are clenched — Yet I go, 
because you have wished it. 

Esther : I knew that you are brave and strong. 

PUGH (coming nearer): Because you have 
willed it — Esther Wake — my law and my love. 

Esther: Do not say those words, I am be- 
trothed. 



46 Esther Wake 

Pugh: I love you, Esther Wake, and I will 
love you as long as yonder hills stand on the 
banks of the Eno. I will love you even if you 
should hate me — but no, you do not hate me — 
on my heart there lies a red, red rose. Your 
lips have kissed it, it is mine. Do you hate 
me — do you love me? Tell me ere I go. 

Esther: I may not — I must not — but James, I 
do — ! Pugh Jdsses her hand.) 
Dick knocks at the door. 

Esther: Someone there? (Pugh goes out, greet- 
ing her reverently.) 

Dick (entering): Mr. Fanning is at the door. 
Miss Esther, and wishes to see you. 

Esther : Let him enter, Dick. 

Dick: And Miss Esther, permit me. I think 
that it is high time for us to return to New- 
bern. I do not like the looks of things about 
me. The people are all excited and gathered 
in front of the court-house. Then there is that 
man, who just left the room. It seems he 
looks at me all the time; he has no manners. 

Esther: Hush, Dick, he is a gentleman. 

Dick: To you, of course. Miss Esther, who 
would not be? Well, I have decided, with your 
kind permission, not to remain any longer in 
this land of barbarians. I am obliged to leave. 
(Fanning is heard at the door. Dick draws 
hack and lets him enter.) 

Fanning: Good morning, Miss Esther. I wish 
to come and inform you that things are better 
and brighter for me. 



Esther Wake 47 

Esther: You are kind, Mr. Fanning, I sin- 
cerely trust that everything will come out 
right for you. 

Fanning: Aye, my lady, Pugh and his Regu- 
lators will soon see that there are still judges 
in England ! They accused me falsely. 

Esther: Could Mr. Pugh have imagined that 
he was right? 

Fanning: Miss Esther, he is our bitterest en- 
emy. He hates the very name of England. 
He is the unforgiving foe of the Governor, he 
hates us all. 

Esther: Maybe that in the collecting of those 
taxes some mistakes were made, some unfor- 
tunately harsh measures taken. 

Fanning: Miss Wake, do you Avish to excuse 
the enemy of your fiance? 

Esther : I try to be on the side of justice. Any 
love that I should bear a man must not blind 
me to his mistakes. If you are wrong, there 
is still time to acknowledge the error which 
you made. Meet the people frankly, there is 
still time. 

Fanning: They are a vulgar rabble, led and 
captained by one man without principle. Me 
they hate. I in turn despise them. The case 
is in the hands of the Court: let the Court 
decide. 

Esther: I love those freemen! Mr. Fanning, 
I wish that they might esteem you. 

Fanning: You do not understand them. Miss 
Wake. They have treated you with ostenta- 



48 Esther Wake 

tious hospitality, since one saved you from 
the waters of the Eno. Their love may be 
feigned. 

Esther: Mr. Fanning. 

Fanning: Who can trust him, who left these 
apartments. Why was he here? 

Esther: Because / sent for him. I asked him 
to make a last effort for peace. 

Fanning: Thank you, fair love! (sarcasti- 
cally). A last effort for peace with — me. May 
1 be present at your next interview? Then, 
when he shall accuse me, I shall have an op- 
portunity to defend myself. 

Esther : Sir, I regret that our interview should 
have caused you displeasure. Permit me, the 
peace in the Colony must not be disturbed. 
(Going to the window.) Do you see the men 
of Orange gathered in front of the court- 
house? When have we seen such a crowd in 
Hillsboro? Are you sure that you will be un- 
harmed? 

Fanning : Not one of that vulgar rabble would 
dare to touch me. They are too cowardly. 
But, I must go, my love ; I know your thoughts 
will go with me, and I shall think of you. 
Pray, may I have the rose my love wears? 

Esther (slowly talcing the rose from her hosom, 
shakes it and the leaves fall) : It is with- 
ered, its leaves are falling. 

Fanning (takes it, all the leaves fall): It is 

still a rose. 
Esther (slowly): A dead — dead — rose. 



Esther Wake 49 

Call on the Outside: "Fanning, Colonel Ed- 
mund Fanning, come into court; Edmund 
Fanning, come into courf 

Esther: I hear your name; the Court has re- 
sumed its session. 

Fanning: The jury will be ready for the ver- 
dict. Good-bye my fiancee — you shall soon see 
me free — (Exit.) 

The scene represents the outside of the 
court-house at Eillshoro. A vast multitude 
is crowded about the door, prominent among 
the men are the Regulators. 
Hunter (stands nearest the door, on a barrel. 
Ee describes to his companions the scene in- 
side the building, looking in over the heads of 
the people) : Shut your mouths, fellows, I can 
not hear a damn thing. 
Howell: That is right, keep still. We will 

soon hear the verdict ; keep still, I say ! 
Hunter: Shut up, men, shut up! They are 
coming in now, the jury is ready to report. — 
(silence) — Guilty, men, Fanning is guilty! 
Howell : The scoundrel is guilty ! Hurrah for 
the Court! Down with Fanning! 

All: Hurrah for the Court! Down with Fan- 
ning! 

Hunter: Shut up, shut up, the judge is going 
to talk. (Silence and attention of all.) He 
fines him one penny ! One damn penny ! 

All : One penny, one damn penny ! Down with 
Fanning, down with the Court, down with 
Tryon! Away with England! Down with 
England. 



50 Esther Wake 

Howell: Down with the lawyers! Hang them 
all! 

Hunter: They are taking out the lawyers 
through the back door, they are going to hang 
them. The Chief Justice alone goes free. The 
lawyers, the clerks are all to blame ! 

Hunter: Men, men! Here comes Fanning. 
Let us hang him! (They divide in two groups 
ready to surround Fanning as he comes out.) 

Howell: Look out. Regulators! here comes our 
enemy ! 

Fanning (coming out of the court-house) : Let 
me go — (they seize him) infernal cowards! 
Let me loose ! 

All: A rope, a rope! 

Fanning: Get your rope, you assassins! Do 
you dare to let me say a word before you kill 
me? 

Howell: Not a word! 

Hunter: You old publican, you old tyrant, we 
have got you, and we shan't turn you loose. 

All: Down with the tyrant! 

Howell: They fined him one penny, men! 

Hunter: He put some of our best men in jail 
for debt. He did not want old man Pearson 
to make an honest living ! He wanted to take 
his horse. 

All: Here comes the men with the rope. The 
rope ! The rope ! (They throw it around Fan- 
ning' s neck.) 

Pearson: Hold on, brethren, don't hang that 
man, it is a crime before God and men ! (The 



Esther Wake 51 

crowd listens to him a momeyit, then the noise 
begins again.) If you do not want to turn him 
loose, give him at least a chance to pray ! 

Fanning (all silent) : I am all right. I am not 
afraid to die. What I want to say is this: 
Howell, Pearson, listen ! 

Hunter: He wants to get away, pull the rope. 
Sling it over that limb. Throw it over, I say, 
can't you do it? 

PuGH (rushing out from court-house) : Give me 
that rope! (He pulls it down from the tree.) 
By God, men, what do you mean? Ten against 
one! 

Howell: He is a tyrant! 

Hunter : An oppressor. The tool of England ! 

Howell : The Court is rotten. They fined him 
one penny! 

PuGH : I know that ! Still what do you mean. 
Brother Regulators, killing a man, twenty 
against one ! Take a man unawares ! What 
of the sacred oath of the Regulation that tells 
us to treat all our foes fair? I have no love 
for this man, I have no love for England that 
sent him, but I will not stab a man in the 
back ! Who has heard that a man was ever 
fought in Orange County, without having first 
received a warning? We notify the enemies 
of the Regulation, who has told this man to 
stay away? 

Hunter: He has used foul means against us! 

PuGH : And if he has, must the Regulators 
play foul? Regulators, they call us barba- 
rians at Newbern: let us show those English 



52 Esther Wake 

flunkeys that the Kegulation stands for fair 
and open fight. 

Pearson : That is right ! Then there are others 
guilty besides him ! 

PuGH : If you hang this man, you must hang 
all! Brethren, are we executioners? 

Hunter: He shan't go. He has put several of 
our people in jail. Hang him! Pull that 
rope, men! 

All : Pull the rope ! the rope ! 

PuGH (snatches rope from Panning's neck) : De- 
fend yourself, take this knife. (Be throios 
him a knife.) I swear that I will kill the first 
man who makes a step nearer. The first man, 
who touches Fanning, is my man ! Come on, 
Kegulators, kill a brother Regulator, kill a 
neighbor and a friend! 

Pearson : Pugh is our leader ! 
(All hesitate.) 

Hunter (advances against Fanning; 
Pugh seizes him and throtvs him doivn.) 

Pugh : By God, Hunter, I do not want to hurt 
you, but stand back, I say ! 

Pearson (rushes in) : Hold on, Hunter ! Pugh 
is right. We are not giving him a fair show ! 
Howell, are you going back on your old 
friend? 

Howell (hesitates a moment^ then suddenly 
stands hy Pugh) : I am with you, Jim! Let 
Fanning go, boys! 
(All fall hack.) 

Pugh (to Fanning) : You are free, sir! 

Howell : He is free. But we must meet again ! 



Esther Wake 53 

Fanning: I am no coward, sir. If you had 
hanged me, I would have shown you how to 
die. I do not beg for my life. Still I thank 
you for having saved your countrymen from 
this murder. Generous foe, between you and 
me there must, however, not be peace. In an- 
other place, and at another time, I will explain. 
(To the Regulators): You men of Orange, 
have committed a heinous crime: you have 
insulted the Government of His Majesty. Of 
your own free will, you have chosen war. 
(Murmur.) Whether I go free or not, you will 
have to fight a stronger man than me. When 
the time comes, I shall meet you sword in 
hand, face to face, and there will be no quar- 
ter! 

PuGH : Tell your master, that we will be ready 
when you call. We men of Orange are free- 
born citizens, a plain people, who know but 
one law. That law is not written on the 
statute books of yonder court, but in our 
hearts. That law is eternal: it is the law of 
uncompromising liberty and justice. Tell the 
Great Wolf that the men of Orange wear no 
man's collar. It is war, you say; war with 
England. Let war come, deadly, grim and 
without mercy. We will fight for the same 
liberty for which our Saxon fathers fought. 
Personally, Mr. Fanning, I give you rendevous 
in the thickest of the battle where brave men 
meet and where cowards do not set foot. You 
will find me there. 

Fanning : If we meet, remember that I never 
asked of you or anyone, to save my life today. 



54 Esther Wake 

PuGH : Farewell, sir. Gather together your 

soldiers, the time has come. Stand back, boys, 

and let him pass. 

(All fall hack and let him go off the stage.) 
PuGH : Regulators ! our fight with England has 

begun. Hurrah, for Old Orange! Hurrah, 

for Carolina! 

The scene changes. 
Scene 3. Miss Wake's reception room. 
Esther: What good news, Mr. Fanning? 
Fanning: Free my love, yet is the news not 

good. There will be war, bitter war, between 

England and the Colonies. 
Esther: I do not see the reason. 
Fanning: They have mortally insulted your 

brother and the whole English nation. 

Esther: I do not understand you. Colonel. 

Fanning: The much heralded onslaught of 
Pugh proved me innocent; his testimony was 
utterly worthless. He, the leader of the Reg- 
ulation, could find no valid charge against 
me. The Court found me guilty of some minor 
errors ; the judge arose and pronounced me in- 
nocent. For form's sake he fined me one 
penny. Then the rabble broke into a frenz}^, 
they seized the lawyers and beat them with- 
out mercy. 

Esther: And you? 

Fanning: They dragged me on the green, and 
threatened to hang me. They heaped the vilest 
insults on me. I fought like one possessed, 
but could not resist their numbers. Then I 



Esther Wake 55 

resolved to die with a smile of contempt on 
my lips for those Orange cowards. Suddenly 
Pugh intervened and interposed himself be- 
tween his people and vile murder. He ob- 
tained my freedom. 

Esther: He is brave. 

Fanning: Aye, he is brave. Still I owe him 
nothing. I would not beg him for my life. I 
would not have cared if they had murdered 
me. 

Esther: Mr. Fanning! 

Fanning : I despise them all. I hate them like 
a vile diseased crowd. I wish that I might de- 
stroy them. 

Esther: They did not destroy you. You had 
some friends among them. 

Fanning: Is Pugh my friend? I hate him 
with all the most intense power of my soul. 
Esther silent. 

Fanning: He is the man who brought 
about this trouble. He is the man who stirred 
the ashes in the bosom of his fellow Regulators 
and blew into lurid flames, their hatred 
against me. 

Esther : And he saved you ! 

Fanning : He saved me. I hate life at the hands 
of this subtle Greek. I have challenged him 
to a mortal duel on the battlefield, when his 
mob and our soldiers shall meet. He has ac- 
cepted my challenge ; he or I must die. 

Esther : You are beside yourself with emotion, 
Colonel. 



56 Esther Wake 

Fanning (growing more passionate) : On the 
contrary, my lady love (sarcastically) I am 
as calm as a slumbering lake in the lap of the 
valley. I am calm, but my eyes are not blind. 

Esther: Not blind? 

Fanning: Are you my betrothed? Did you 
solemnly pledge that you would marry me? 

Esther : I did. 

Fanning: This morning a certain man, before 
he came here, swore that he would see me 
hanged, if the Court set me free. If the peo- 
ple used violence against me, he would not lift 
his finger to protect me. Barely an hour af- 
terwards, that same man stood in the midst 
of the mob and defied any man to touch me. 
Who changed him? 

Esther: / asked that no violence be done. 

Fanning : Miss Wake, I do not doubt your pop- 
ularity among the Kegulators : but that man 
did not change his mind because of courtesy 
alone ! 

Esther: He yielded to the force of my argu- 
ments — to my reason. 

Fanning : Arguments, reasons ! There is an- 
other force that is mightier than reason. The 
force which drove Francesca in the arms of 
her Paolo, that fashioned with everlasting 
chains Abelard and Heloise; the force that 
sent Dante through hell in search of his Beat- 
rice — Miss Esther in the crowd, Pugh and I 
stood face to face. When he had succeeded in 
staying the hands of the assassins, I read in 
his eyes, not care and consideration, but deep- 



Esther Wake 57 

est hatred and defiance. His lips were 
wreathed in triumph, in subtle triumph over 
me. 

Esther: In subtle triumph over you? 

Fanning: Suddenly I guessed the truth, the 
whole truth : he is no longer my rival in poli- 
tics; he is no longer the self-appointed guar- 
dian of the people's right ; he has entered an- 
other field against me. He, the lonely black- 
smith of a little country village, dares to raise 
his eyes to the first lady of the land. Am I 
wrong? If so, on both my knees I beg your 
pardon. 

Esther: Your words are bitter. 

Fanning: They are true: Miss Wake, do you 
still love me? 

Esther: I still esteem you for your courage, 
for your manly qualities! 

Fanning: But do you love me? 

Esther: I am still your fiancee. Yet in my 
soul doubt and coldness seem to dawn — yes, 
deep in my soul — 

Fanning: Do not say the fatal words (with 
supreme determination). I understand 
enough, Miss Wake. Tonight I leave for New- 
born to inform your brother of the happenings 
of the day. He swore to crush out this sedi- 
tion. As to him, you have confirmed the sen- 
tence of death on him — or on me — 

Esther : I have prayed for peace between Eng- 
land and Carolina — Peace between you and 
him. 

Fanning: And between him and me, you have 
dug an abyss that is deeper than the deepest 



58 Esther Wake 

depths of hell — Farewell, my lady — (He goes 
to the dooVy then slowly returns.) If, how- 
ever, there still be hope for me — If you would 
go with me — to your brother's palace — 
Esther (interrupting him): Tell brother, that 
you came alone. (8he sinks on the table ^ her 
face in her hands. Fanning sloioly goes out.) 
Margaret enters^ finds Esther, her head 
hent on the table ^ and approaching care- 
fully, she places her arm about Esther's 
neck, and comforts her. 
Dick (all upset) : Upon my word and the word 
of all my ancestors, Miss Esther, I must go. I 
want to go. I shan't stay in this savage coun- 
try any longer. These barbarians have threat- 
ened to kill the whole Court and the Governor. 
They SAvear that they will hang the King from 
the highest tree in Orange County. They have 
whipped all the lawyers, they have dragged 
Mr. Fanning by the heels, they have hung him, 
and quartered him; until he finally got away. 
Margaret stejiping back, motions Dick 
to be quiet. 
Dick (seeing Esther) : Great Heavens! What 
is that? Have the wretches been here, too? 
Have they tried to hurt my mistress? By jove, 
there must be an end to all this. (He seizes a 
pair of pistols, which are lying on the table 
near him, he brandishes them and places 
himself squarely in front of the middle en- 
trance door.) Now let them come, if they dare, 
the damned rascals ! I defy them, one and all. 
Miss Esther, Margaret, do not fear any longer, 



am right here. 



Curtain. 



Esther- Wake 59 



ACT IV, Scene 1. An open field, trees, rocks. 
The scene represents the battlefield of Ala- 
mance. 

PuGH : This is the place. From here we con- 
trol the road to the Great Wolf's tent. 

Howell: It will get a little hot here, I guess. 

PuGH : Are your guns, ready? Mind your prim- 
ing, gentlemen. Howell and Hunter, you get 
behind that tree as soon as you see them com- 
ing. William, you stay right with me. Load 
my rifles, and ram the bullets as tight as 
you can. 

Howell: Well, I have waited a long time for 
this here party. I hope it may be a pleasant 
occasion for our British friends. 

Hunter (runs up all excited) : James Pugh ! 

Pugh: Well, sir! 

Hunter: We must fight, there is no way out 
of it. 

Pugh: Well, then, the blood will be on the 
head of the Great Wolf. 

Hunter: Parson Husbands just met him, he 
went to his tent, and begged him to take his 
soldiers back to Newbern, and not to drive the 
men of Orange into the fight. He begged and 
he begged for peace. Husbands promised that 
the Regulators would go home quietly, and 
that all could be settled friendly. 

Howell: I know the Wolf did not listen, he 
wants blood. 



60 Esther Wake 



Hunter : He made an oath that he was tired of 
the damned rebellion, that he would see every 
Kegulator hanged before morning. 

PuGH : Hand me that gun, William, and the 
rod. (He rams the gun as tightly as he can.) 

Howell: You are ramming her mighty tight, 
sir. 

PuGH : This is for him. 

Hunter: And men, he killed old man Thomp- 
son! 

All : The best man in Orange County ! 

Hunter : Yes, he was with Husbands when the 
parson went to see the Governor. When Par- 
son Husbands could not do a thing with Tryon, 
old man Thompson turned to the Great Wolf 
and told him his plain mind : ^'Governor,'' he 
said, ''this is unworthy of you and of Old Eng- 
land. You have advanced against your people, 
with trained men, and with cannon. There 
will be no end of bloodshed. War is a crime, 
where we still can have peace.'' The Governor 
got impatient, he drew his pistol, and shot the 
poor man dead. 

PuGH : The foul murder ! 

Howell : I hope the Great Wolf will come this 
way. I will also spare him a good straight 
bullet. 

William : Look over yonder ! (He points to 
the tent of the Governor.) 

Howell : Where? 

William : I see a white flag. 

Pearson (coming nearer) : It is a flag of truce. 



PuGH : Damn his white flag ! 



Esther Wake 61 

Pearson : What do you mean, friend, fire on a 

flag of truce? 
PuGH : He killed our messenger ! (shoots) 

There goes his sheet ! 
Hunter: Lord have mercy! See the fellow 

run, he does not even take up his little sheet. 

You cut the staff clean in two. 
PuGH : Thompson dead ! Regulators, they will 

pay us dearly. 
William : Look ! Look ! 
Pugh: Yonder they come, the Governor and 

his staff. Here hold this gun, while I fire — 

(he aims) Now for him — (he fires) missed 

him! Shoot, Howell, shoot! Damn the luck, 

you missed him, too ; he is riding like the wind ! 

Fire again, fire! Yonder they go — let us run 

and meet them — 

(All fire. 'Noise, shooting on all sides.) 
Pugh (before running off, looks hack a moment 

at William ) : Come on with us, William, and 

bring that gun. What is that? 
William (staggers and drops his gun): I am 

hurt, sir, I am hurt ! 
Pugh (runs up to him and seizes him) : Where 

William, where? 
William (pointing to his side) : In my side, sir, 

look at the blood ! 
Pugh : Pearson, come back quick ! They have 

shot William! 
Pearson : My boy, my boy ! What hurts you, 

my boy? 
William : Nothing, grandpa. Do not worry, 

it is nothing. 



62 Esther Wake 

Pearson: Look, Pngh, he is dying! They have 
murdered him ! They have murdered my boy ! 

PuGH : I believe he is gone to rest — Lay him 
down gently — He gave the rose to Miss Es- 
ther — (A sJiot is fired near hy, Pugh rushes 
off.) 

Pearson: Dead! dead! How white his lips, 
how glassy his eyes — William, if they had only 
shot me and spared you — 

Howell: Look out, Pearson — look out — they 
are rushing us. 

Pearson : I am glad they came. (Be takes his 
gun, aims and fires.) Damn you red coats! 

Howell and Pugh (run in): Look out, look 
out! Yonder comes Fanning! 

Fanning (running in): Here at last. Damn 
you, I have looked for you. Come on ! 

Pugh : I am glad we met. Here is our chance ! 
(They clinch.) 

Howell (catchhig a soldier by the throat): 
Here you damn Redcoat, you are mine. (Both 
roll on the ground.) 

Regulators and British soldiers rush in. 
The fight is general. Hunter and Pearson 
are tvounded. Pugh is about to kill Fan- 
ning, tvhen two British soldiers, seize him 
and bear him down. 

Fanning (rises): You are mine, James Pugh! 
Soldier (to Fanning): Shall I shoot him, sir? 
Fanning : No, he must hang, the damned rebel ! 
Pugh (to Fanning) : You coward, why did you 

not fight me single-handed? Your soldiers 

overwhelmed me. 



Esther Wake 63 

Fanning: Kush liim to the camp, men! The 
Governor will be glad to see the leader of the 
Kegulation. They will all swing. (They rush 
off the prisoners.) 

Fanning (remaining behind): What, Pearson, 
you crying? 

Pearson: You killed my son! you killed my 
son! 

Fanning : Damn him. If he is dead, there will 
be one rebel less to swing. 

Pearson (half rising): God help our country! 
They have taken my child, my William — and 
they will murder Pugh, the noblest of them 
all ! — (He sinks dead on the body of his hoy.) 

Scene 2. Interior of plantation home serving as 
headquarters to Tryon. Ordinary rough table y 
chairs, etc. 

Fanning : Thus did I capture him, my lord. 

Tryon : A splendid capture. Colonel. I am 
grateful to you for your brave assistance. The 
wretched rebels need a lesson. The time has 
come to execute the men, who are condemned 
to die. See to it at once, that they be hanged. 

Fanning: Hanged, drawn, and quartered. 

Tryon : There is, however, a change, a change 
in numbers that occurred to me. To please 
some, w^e will execute only six of the twelve. 
To the others I will grant life, because of the 
many appeals that have reached me. 

Fanning : My lord, what becomes of justice if 
you pardon these? Their crime was atrocious, 
your mercy will be termed weakness, and soon 
the rebellion will begin again. 



64 Esther Wake 

Tryon: I have thought it all over, Colonel. 
There is no danger in leniency. The rebels 
have learned their lesson; we have crushed 
them and scattered the Regulators to the four 
winds. 

Fanning: A strong example would bring the 
men of Orange to submission for ever. What 
will England say? 

Tryon : Six silent men on the gallows will talk 

loud enough to the whole colony. 
Fanning: May I know their names? 
Tryon : Here on the table lies the list. 
Fanning (reads): Pugh, Howell, Messer — 

Pugh was the soul of the rebellion. 

Tryon : Therefore he heads the list of those 
condemned to die. 

Fanning: He has powerful friends, my lord, 
who would like to see him live. Friends, who 
forget that your fight is England's fight. Sir, 
you are doing more than subduing a few farm- 
er^) you are battling for the eternal principles 
*of government. Shall Britain rule or shall 
Britain bend to the whims and wishes of a 
handful of her colonists? Pugh is not only 
your foe, he is the foe of all England. If he 
lives, there will be no end of rebellion. 

Tryon : You are right, Colonel. He is guilty 
of the blackest crime of all. He must die, who 
rises in rebellion against the King. 

Fanning : He bears you little love. He boasted 
that his bullet grazed your temple. He re- 
gretted that it did not find its aim. 



Esther Wake 65 

Tryon : By jove, he came near bagging the 
Great Wolf. I grant him a good sportsman. 

Fanning : You are a fair foe, sir. 

Tryon : Every Britisher admires fair sport. 

Still, this young gunsmith has gone too far. 

He led his companions into the rebellion; he 

shall lead them to the gallows. 

Fanning: I go to execute your orders, my 
lord. I will prepare the execution at once, I 
trust that you will be present. 

Dick (enters^ Fanning stai/s) : Miss Esther, sir, 
wishes to see you at once. She is all pale and 
excited. She says she must see you at once. 

Tryon : Tell the little girl that I am here. 
Poor little heart, she sympathizes too much 
with the rebels. 

Fanning : She loves them but too well. She is 
too generous. 

Esther: Brother! brother! Mr. Fanning! 

Fanning: Miss Wake. 

Tryon (to Fanning) : See to it, sir, that you 
march the prisoners at once to the place of exe- 
cution. I will join you as they pass by this 
house. 

Fanning (saluting) : At your orders, sir. 

Esther: Brother, you must not! You must 
spare these men. 

Tryon : Did you come all the way to tell me 
this? 

Esther: I rode day and night from Newbern, 
to tell you that these men must not die. 
5 



66 Esther Wake 

Tryon: You tremble all over. Why are you 

so excited? 
Esther : You are too good, too kind, too noble, 

to have them executed. 

Tryon : My child, this is not a question of per- 
sonal feeling. These men are not our personal 
enemies only : they have risen in rebellion 
against the King. They will set the whole 
continent afire, if they be permitted to live. 
Britain never forgives high treason. 

Esther: No, brother, they fought because they 
believed their cause was holy. They resented 
oppression, they had lost confidence in the 
Court — they thought that their redress lay in 
the sword. 

Tryon : And their conduct was execrable. They 
were at war with the throne, with all England. 

Esther: Brother, you have the power in your 
hands, to make these men your friends forever. 
Revenge forges brittle shackles of fear ; mercy, 
golden chains of love. You must be merciful. 

Tryon: I can not. 

Esther: The greatest kings are they who wear 
the robes of mercy. Theirs is the sword in 
the roar of battle, the olive branch in the time 
of peace. In the melee they fight; after the 
fight they forgive. These men must live and 
be your friends. 

Tryon : You are a good girl, Esther ; unfortu- 
nately your sentiment swa^^s your cooler mind. 
You went to Hillsboro to prevent trouble, and 
I did not oppose you. Did you infiuence the 
rebels? 



Esther Wake 67 

Esther: They granted life to your friend, Colo- 
nel Fanning. 

Tryon : He saved himself from the rabble. 

Esther : And if the Court had done its duty ! 

Tryon: Esther, Esther! you know not what 
you are saying. You are slandering the Court. 
England's judges have ever been her greatest 
boast. 

Esther : I plead in favor of a people ignorant, 
misguided but intensely human. Love them 
and in turn they will love you. 

Tryon : I have partly granted your prayer. 
Twelve were condemned to death. I have par- 
doned six. The other six will be executed. 

Esther: Six must die! 

Tryon : Here is the list of those condemned to 
death. 

Esther (reads): James Pugh! Why did not 
Colonel Fanning intercede for him? He saved 
Mr. Fanning from a horrible death. 

Tryon : Mr. Fanning does not allow his per- 
sonal feelings to overrule his broad conception 
of duty. 

Esther : Mr. Pugh dragged me from the waters 
of the Eno. He risked his life for me, the sis- 
ter of the man, who signed his death warrant. 

Tryon : For whom he reserved his best shots at 
tlie battle of Alamance. 

Esther: He is young, gallant, true, he misun- 
derstood you. Let him live — 

Tryon : He is proud and insolent, he shall die. 

Esther: On my knees, dear brother! 



68 Esther Wake 

Tryon : Do not beg, Esther, do not kneel — 

England, England demands justice. 
Esther: And Carolina, mercy. 

Tryon (hesitating) : Perhaps that I might yield. 

Would Pugh renounce his allegiance to the 

Regulation? 
Esther: Would you spare him? 
Tryon : And submit on oath to the King? 
Esther: He would. 
Tryon : Then will I grant him life. 

Fanning (entering ^ salutes): Sir, the prison- 
ers are at the door. 

Tryon : Esther desires a last interview with 
the prisoner Pugh. Please defer to her wishes ; 
bring in the prisoner and guard the outside. 
(Exit,) 

Esther: Mr. Fanning, help me save him. 

Fanning: Have you interceded with your 
brother? Why does not he save him? 

Esther : His loyalty to England blinds him to 
all mercy. He has granted me to speak to him. 
Mr. Pugh must not die. 

Fanning : The Governor and the wise men, who 
surround him think otherwise. They have at 
heart the interest of Britain and of the Col- 
ony. They are not swayed by passion. 

Esther: They are enemies of the Regulators 
and their hatred is their mightiest counselor. 
These men must live. 

Fanning: Why should I intercede for them? 
If I am their foe, they are mine. My house 
torn down by their hands, my body stained 



Esther Wake 69 

with the marks of their outrages, proclaim 
them my bitter enemies. My soul still smarts 
under all their insults and their injuries. They 
are the men, who fought me cowardly, who 
smote me. Their mouth vomited forth against 
me their vilest calumnies. As to him — you 
yourself have condemned him to death. 
Esther silent. 

Fanning: Do you still wear that diamond 
ring? I placed it on your hand, the night of 
of our betrothal. That ring is mine, your 
heart is his — Why do you love him? 

Esther : Because Love is the echo of the Word 
that flung worlds into space. Who has con- 
trolled it? Who has mapped out its bounda- 
ries? It made the stars leap in their courses 
and suns stand still in the deep gulfs of im- 
mensity. Who shall stay that Word? Bar- 
riers of Society? Custom? Rank? All these 
are even as dust before its onward rushing. 
Love is the the Supreme Fiat, eternally crea- 
tive — It is a fire kindled by the hand of Him 
who rules the human hearts. A fire that 
flashes, melts, fuses souls into inseparable 
oneness. The flames of Love are ever-burning ; 
all the waters of the seas, all the oceans of the 
heavens can — will never extinguish it. 

Panning: Then, why did you tell me that you 
love me? 

Esther: There was I sorely mistaken. I took 
esteem for love, admiration for affection. For- 
give him and hold me guilty — in the greatness 
of your soul, save him ! 



70 Esther Wake 

Fanning (struggling with* himself) : Esther — 
Esther — I will save him — if you will forget 
him, and remember me — (she staggers) The 
prisoner is waiting at the door. My instruc- 
tions are to leave you with him. Speak to 
him, ask him to leave this land forever, and he 
shall live — (Exit.) 

PuGH : My love, you here? 

Esther: I have come to save you, James, you 
must live. 

PuGH : Esther ! 

Esther : My brother grants you life, if you but 
will it. And you must will it for your sake 
and for mine. 

PuGH (affected): I have prayed that I might 
live for you and for my land. 

Esther: Your life is in your hand, decide. 
Live, James, my heart breaks when I see the 
abyss at your feet — 

Pugh: Did you beg him in the name of our 
love? 

Esther: I shall tell him, when you shall have 
chosen life. You must swear allegiance to the 
British Crown and forget the Kegulation. 
Then will you be free. 

Pugh : Forsake my country and be free? 

Esther: Not be a traitor to your country, but 
bury your arms and live in peace. 

Pugh : And see the grip of the oppressor about 
the throat of Carolina? Stand still in silence, 
when Carolina calls? 

Esther: Let others fight the fight: come with 
me and leave this land. We shall go into the 



Esther Wake 71 

wilderness. Your eye shall be the sun of my 

existence, your smile shall light my path. 

Come live for me — 
PuGH : My love, my all ! I may not choose. 

My clays with you would be an everlasting 

spring, and still — 
Esther : James, it must be ! 

PuGH : Yonder men have fought and bled with 

me: shall they be free? 
Esther: He promised liberty to you. 
PuGH : And death to them. 

Esther: A word, a word of submission. We 
shall go where the trout leaps in the placid 
brook, where the rose mirrors her glory in 
the stream. You shall not hear of England 
again, and of the Regulators. You shall for- 
get, forget — 

PuGH : In the breeze at night, I shall hear the 
sighs of Carolina. In the storm, her call to 
arms. My soul will not forget: I would leave 
your side, and be once more a rebel against 
England. 

Esther: We shall go where the foot of man 
has never trampled the leaf of the forest, 
where the deer shall lick our hand, and the 
wolf gentler than man, shall sleep by our fire- 
side. Forget, we shall forget! 

PuGH : Forget the men, who were my daily 
comrades in the task of peace? My faithful 
followers in the clash of war? I should live, 
and they should die? 

Esther: I love you, James — live for me. 



72 Esther Wake 

Pugh: Esther, I have played the game with 
grim Old England, I have lost. I will pay the 
price. You will remember me, when I shall 
slumber in the shadow of the pines. My soul 
shall come to you at evening-fall, and again we 
shall be as one. I am happy, for the noblest, 
the best of Carolina's women today has wept 
for me. Come, let me die a man, I could not 
live a faint heart — 

(Drum is heard on the outside.) 

Pugh: I hear the beating of the drum. The 
hour has come — Farewell, my love — 

Esther: James — my James — (In a supreme 
moment of devotion^ they embrace.) 

(Drum comes nearer. They release their 
grasp. Tryon enters^ together with Fan- 
ning, and a number of soldiers.) 

Tryon (to Esther) : What has your rebel finally 
decided? 

Pugh : That men of Orange can live and fight, 
can lose and die. 

Esther : Brother, spare him ! 

Fanning: For another rebellion, my Lord. 

Tryon : Will you forsake the Regulation, swear 
allegiance to the King, and lay down your 
arms? 

Pugh (firmly and calmly) : No ! 

Tryon: You are proud, even at this solemn 
hour. You are brave and I admire your cour- 
age. England will not forgive, but that you 
repent. 

Pugh : Sir, I love the hills and the light that is 
upon them. I have listened to the rush of the 



Esther Wake 73 

rivers, the song of the pines, and I love their 
music. They would hush their voices, and the 
hills would hide their crests in darkness, should 
their freeman-sons bow down before a master. 
Son of England, we, too, are Saxons. We 
have learned the law of liberty from the lips 
of our fathers. They brought this law with 
them from their Saxon homes, and their love 
of freedom grew in the untrammeled forest, on 
the unspoiled plains, under the expanse of our 
wide heavens. On our necks there is no place 
for the foot of the tyrant. Our Saxon hearts 
know love, they do not know submission — 
Your battle has but begun : unless you put 
away from you your faithless counselors, un- 
less you and England treat the Colonists as 
freemen, not only Carolina, but the East and 
the South will array itself in war against your 
scarlet soldiers. Alamance prophesies your 
defeat: the blood you shed is martyr blood, 
from every drop will spring a race of men, un- 
daunted and unconquered. The echoes of our 
battle will be heard on all this Continent, the 
groans of the dying Regulators will be a call 
to arms to the young American race. You can 
not grant me life; I can not accept. On these 
shores this Young America and Old, Old Eng- 
land can not live side by side — (He steps for- 
ward to tohere Esther is standing.) Farewell, 
Miss Wake — upon my heart there lies a red — 
red rose — 
Tryon : You have chosen, sir ; your blood is on 
your head. 
6 



74 Esther Wake 

Fanning (to the soldiers ivhUst he draws his 
sivord in command) : Forward! March! 
(The soldiers step alongside of Pugh, then 
turn about and march out. Fanning and 
Tryon remain.) 

Esther tries a step towards the window, 
hut she staggers helplessly. Margaret 
gently supports her. Finally Esther draws 
away from her support and looks at the 
Governor and Fanning, who seem to ob- 
serve the execution from the window. 

Esther : Brother, you have won ! England has 
won! What a wretched victory! God help 
my native land, God help my Carolina. And 
he — his silent lips are calling, calling, and 
America will hear — I die with him — I loved 
him well, his heart was mine, and mine was 
his. I leave your court forever, where Jus- 
tice never met her sister Mercy — (She takes 
her ring from her finger.) Mr. Fanning, here 
is your ring, the token of a love that never 
shall be. Esther Wake shall never be your 
bride. (She drops the ring on the floor.) 
Some day the sons of Carolina will tell of him, 
whom my heart adores; they will weave his 
name with mine in song undying, for he is 
great, who on the altars of his country, gladly 
offered love, and life and all. 
The End. 

Smithfield, N. C, 23 April, 1913. 



IN 27 1913